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  1. #1
    Death Mud
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    Looking for insight into backpacking route along WV/VA border

    I've got a crazy notion for a bike packing loop that incorporates part of the VA Mountain biking trail and trails and back roads in WV, starting and ending in Front Royal. I don't know the area at all (I live in Columbus, OH), but this looks like it could be a great fall route within a 1/2 day's drive from home.
    The VA MBT section was done by someone else, I just took that section from RideWithGPS and tried to put together a loop online, looking for trails and interesting spots along the way. But, since I probably won't get the chance to scout it, I was hoping to get some input from any locals as to the soundness of the route. I'm hoping this will be a good weeklong ride on a hardtail, with a mix of camping and hoteling along the way. If anyone knows this area and can chime in with suggestions, it'd be much appreciated. Thanks!

    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28421478?beta=false

  2. #2
    I am the owl
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    Have you ridden in the area before? Great stuff, but singletrack is extremely rocky so it will slow your progress down more than many places. It's worth it though.

    Couple of notes/thoughts as I've ridden and bikepacked in some good chuncks of this area much of the area:
    • Skip starting in Front Royal and park in Fort Valley around mile 13.8
    • North end of the VA MTB will be most likely be extremely overgrown, (roughly mile 50 - 58), around 37.5 you can use this route to get up on the ridge and pick your route up around mile 58 https://ridewithgps.com/routes/14889774
      (there's a great camp site at chimney rock between your 73/74, you'll see it on the map)
    • Add in Hankey Mountain and Dowell's Draft trails (between your 149 and 160), you'll be rewarded
    • Around mile 300 of so, consider working your way over to Spruce Knob and descending Huckleberry, climb Horton and descend the Allegheny trail to your 335 mile point
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
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  3. #3
    I am the owl
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    Also, get paper maps for backup and in case you need to revise your route. National Geographic #791 and #792 and the Purple Lizard Monongahela map will cover a lot of where you are going.
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
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  4. #4
    Hermit
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    It looks like the WV portion of your loop is mostly paved roads and rail trails. I can give some insight into parts of the WV route.

    The road from Petersburg to Seneca Rocks is a fairly heavily traveled state route. Much of the truck traffic for the region uses route 28/55. The road from Seneca Rocks to Wymer is worse - route 28/55 is at least a valley road, with minimal hills and not too bad sight lines - route 33 goes along Seneca Creek on the east end but soon takes on the mountains, with big climbs, poor sight lines and heavy traffic.
    Trail conditions and maintenance on Allegheny Trail can vary from well maintained to very rough. You might want to research a bit and see if there's any indication about conditions on the sections you have mapped. https://www.wvscenictrails.org/allegheny-trail
    West Fork Rail Trail conditions vary as well, but should be a piece of cake compared to the singletrack.
    You can start Greenbrier Trail in Cass and cut off some road riding.

    There are some singletrack alternatives for parts of your WV route. Between Cabins and Hopeville, North Fork Mountain Trail heads south to route 33 east of Judys Gap. This is an IMBA Epic trail, 25ish miles long, and is quite challenging. You can turn south off of route 33, west of Seneca Rocks, on Whites Run Road, and connect with Allegheny Mountain Trail, Seneca Creek Trail, and a mess of other trails west of Spruce Knob, where you can then follow gravel roads to Bartow.

    Check out this map as a resource: West Virginia Trail Inventory

    Good luck.
    Pedaling when it's dry
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  5. #5
    WillWorkForTrail
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    Heed the advice above regarding roads in WV. Also, contact Chris Scott (Stokesville Lodge/Shenandoah Mountain Touring) and ask for route suggestions/camp locations. Maybe even hire him to do some support stuff if you want. But he's going to be the best source of information for the VA MTB trail and routes in the area you're talking about. Chris probably knows those woods better than the bears that live there.

  6. #6
    I am the owl
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampboy62 View Post
    route 33 goes along Seneca Creek on the east end but soon takes on the mountains, with big climbs, poor sight lines and heavy traffic.
    Agree, avoid 33 if possible, we rode a section east of Elkins on trip earlier this year and it was busy.

    Quote Originally Posted by swampboy62 View Post
    Trail conditions and maintenance on Allegheny Trail can vary from well maintained to very rough. You might want to research a bit and see if there's any indication about conditions on the sections you have mapped. https://www.wvscenictrails.org/allegheny-trail
    North of 33 to Red Creek was a disaster, unpassable to the point of turning around
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
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  7. #7
    Death Mud
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    Wow, this all great info and honestly more than I was hoping for. Between a group gravel ride I organized last weekend and then crazy work schedule I haven't had a chance to follow up until now, but I'll definitely take this info and make some adjustments.

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